30 September 2016 | ThomasDrufke
An Emotional Thrill Ride
Deepwater Horizon is the first of two Peter Berg directed films this year, and if Patriots Day is anywhere near as good as this film we could be looking at quite a few nominations for Berg come February.
Deepwater Horizon tells the story of the crew members of the rig of the same name in April 2010, when the largest oil spill in U.S. history began. Berg is always a guy to count on with this type of harrowing true story. He has the skills of an action film director while also having the delicate hand for an emotionally powerful touch. And much like the recently released 'Sully', this film is a strong tale about the power of the human spirit.
Putting Battleship aside, Berg has always had a knack for directing high intensity sequences of trauma and thrills. Even taking that note into a smaller scale with Friday Night Lights, Berg is great at managing to balance intensity and emotion. Deepwater Horizon is perhaps his biggest scale film thus far, but it's also incredibly personal as well. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez, and Kate Hudson. All of them get the opportunity to act in small intimate moments as well as physically demanding scenes.
Usually, it's those small moments that bring the emotions out of me, and that was Kate Hudson here. I feel like she hasn't gotten a lot to do since her breakout with Almost Famous, but this may be the best she's been since. She plays Wahlberg's wife, and it's simply her reactions to the devastation on the oil rig while she's at home, that really got to me. Powerful stuff.
With all that said, sometimes the high octane thrills feel to be heightened just for heightening certain situations. Berg never loses sight of the end goal here, but some 'action'-ish scenes are almost a little too much, considering how contained this story feels. It doesn't take you out of the film, but you will feel like it could have been handled differently.
Like Berg's previous film, Lone Survivor, it does a nice job of honoring those who died at the rig and the families severely affected by the tragedy. It's a powerful film with gripping performances from Hudson and the rest of the cast that will likely lead it right into the awards season come winter time.
+Berg's delicate touch
-Some heightened moments